First ever saltwater build Biocube 32

QuinnLee512

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Hello everyone. Very first thread. It has been over 20 years since I've had a tank of any kind. Have never done saltwater but have always loved how they look. So I decided to take the plunge yesterday and spent most of the day placing online orders. This is what I have so far. I'm still researching what else I need. I'm trying to buy as much equipment as possible to make maintenance as easy as possible. ATO is on the top of my list of what I haven't gotten yet. Still doing research on what to put in the tank that doesn't require too much maintenance. Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated.

Biocube 32
Biocube stand
Coralife BioCube NEW STYLE Protein Skimmer (V2)
Coralife BioCube Algae Cleaning Magnet
Coralife Mini Hydrometer
inTank Media Basket
inTank Fuge Basket
inTank Fish Saver Guard
Coralife BioCube UV Sterilizer for Aquarium, Mini
Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat 100W
Inkbird WiFi ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat
Hydor Koralia Nano 425 Aquarium Circulation Pump, 425 GPH
ADJ Products AC POWER STRIP (PC-100A)
JBJ Nano Glo LED Refugium Light for Aquarium

Caribsea Life Rock, 40-Pound
CaribSea Aragalive Reef Sand Special Grade 40lbs

APEC Water Systems RO-90 Ultimate Series Top Tier Supreme Certified High Output 90 GPD Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
Milwaukee MA887 Digital Salinity Refractometer with Automatic Temperature Compensation
Marineland Maxi-Jet 900, Multi-Use Water Pump And Power Head ( for mixing water )
API® Saltwater Aquarium Master Test Kit
 
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Peace River

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It looks like you are off to a solid start! You may want to also consider an automatic top-off (ATO) which adds RO water and helps keep the water level and parameters stable. Additionally, you may want to use the R2R search feature to look for ideas in other Biocube 32 build threads - I think you'll find that is a popular tank! Good luck with your new adventure!!!
 

srobertb

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In my unprofessional opinion- I would drop the skimmer. It’s a lot of maintenance and less payoff on smaller tanks. I have a BC29 for several years. Unfortunately it was torn down when I discovered a 2’ Eunice worm living in it.

I would get an MP10 or MP40 or a Nero power head. I had an MP40 dialed down but an MP10 would probably do you. It will have a smaller footprint and you’ll find the flow more aesthetically pleasing.

Strong work on the RODI and Milwaukee. So many people wait a while before investing in these items.

I cut out a strip of the black back on the biocube and put a refugium light on mine. Then added live rock/ceramic media and chaeto. Make sure you use larger sized media, picking out tiny ceramic lifesavers from the back sucks. I bet you could not cut the back and just drop the nano glow in the back. I ditched the media racks and things and just tossed in a small bag of chemipure along with the heater in the badk

I purchased my UV sterilizer about 2 years ago. It’s large, is the second smallest one they make, and cost about $500. Things may have changed but when I did for my large tank I learned that.. . A good sterilizer is expensive and 90% of what’s for sale at the pet stores isn’t really that useful. I would simplify and drop it; maybe bring it back if I had an algae issue.

I like the auto aqua XP lite for my all in ones. It’s very very tiny and the sensor glows to give you the status. It has a built in safety feature (will only fill 3x more than the first fill) and the footprint is tiny. The auto aqua Duetto is a little more sophisticated but really not necessary. I use them on 3 fish tanks and my coffee machine.
 
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QuinnLee512

QuinnLee512

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It looks like you are off to a solid start! You may want to also consider an automatic top-off (ATO) which adds RO water and helps keep the water level and parameters stable. Additionally, you may want to use the R2R search feature to look for ideas in other Biocube 32 build threads - I think you'll find that is a popular tank! Good luck with your new adventure!!!
Hi yes an ATO is what I'm currently researching. And yes I've been reading a lot of the Biocube build threads for the past week. That's how I assembled my list of stuff to get yesterday. :)
 
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QuinnLee512

QuinnLee512

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In my unprofessional opinion- I would drop the skimmer. It’s a lot of maintenance and less payoff on smaller tanks. I have a BC29 for several years. Unfortunately it was torn down when I discovered a 2’ Eunice worm living in it.

I would get an MP10 or MP40 or a Nero power head. I had an MP40 dialed down but an MP10 would probably do you. It will have a smaller footprint and you’ll find the flow more aesthetically pleasing.

Strong work on the RODI and Milwaukee. So many people wait a while before investing in these items.

I cut out a strip of the black back on the biocube and put a refugium light on mine. Then added live rock/ceramic media and chaeto. Make sure you use larger sized media, picking out tiny ceramic lifesavers from the back sucks. I bet you could not cut the back and just drop the nano glow in the back. I ditched the media racks and things and just tossed in a small bag of chemipure along with the heater in the badk

I purchased my UV sterilizer about 2 years ago. It’s large, is the second smallest one they make, and cost about $500. Things may have changed but when I did for my large tank I learned that.. . A good sterilizer is expensive and 90% of what’s for sale at the pet stores isn’t really that useful. I would simplify and drop it; maybe bring it back if I had an algae issue.

I like the auto aqua XP lite for my all in ones. It’s very very tiny and the sensor glows to give you the status. It has a built in safety feature (will only fill 3x more than the first fill) and the footprint is tiny. The auto aqua Duetto is a little more sophisticated but really not necessary. I use them on 3 fish tanks and my coffee machine.
The skimmer came with the biocube/stand package that I ordered. I will keep your comment in mind. I'm still not exactly sure what it's for yet. lol ATO for your coffee machine caught my attention though. I might have to look into that. lol
 

Bouncingsoul39

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The skimmer can still add some needed aeration and boosts ph. I’d leave the UV off for the first 8 weeks. Don’t want to kill good stuff as the tank gets established. An ATO makes reefing so much less of a hassle. I got the auto aqua smart ATO. it’s tiny and works great.
Congrats on your new tank. It’s an exciting time getting started.
 
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QuinnLee512

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The skimmer can still add some needed aeration and boosts ph. I’d leave the UV off for the first 8 weeks. Don’t want to kill good stuff as the tank gets established. An ATO makes reefing so much less of a hassle. I got the auto aqua smart ATO. it’s tiny and works great.
Congrats on your new tank. It’s an exciting time getting started.
I'm super excited. I was up until 3am placing orders. Lots of coffee in the morning at work. :)
 

srobertb

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The skimmer came with the biocube/stand package that I ordered. I will keep your comment in mind. I'm still not exactly sure what it's for yet. lol ATO for your coffee machine caught my attention though. I might have to look into that. lol
Sorry for the typos. I’m typing with a baby in one hand.

we have a Jura coffee maker. I drilled it and attached a bulkhead fitting connected to a 5 gallon ATO behind it. It lasts about a week instead of needing a refil 2x a morning.
 
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QuinnLee512

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Sorry for the typos. I’m typing with a baby in one hand.

we have a Jura coffee maker. I drilled it and attached a bulkhead fitting connected to a 5 gallon ATO behind it. It lasts about a week instead of needing a refil 2x a morning.
I'm a big coffee drinker. At work, we have machines that attaches to a water line. I asked my wife if I could install a water line and do the same thing. Let's say I'm still manually filling my full auto espresso machine. lol
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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I have been running one for a year and to be honest evaporation at least in my house which is usually at 75 degrees is not really an issue. Since the top keeps the tank pretty enclosed I maybe put water in weekly in-between weekly water changes. My biggest issue was flow I ended up putting in TWO Hydor Koralia 425 Pumps which made a huge difference. One wasn't enough.
 
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QuinnLee512

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I have been running one for a year and to be honest evaporation at least in my house which is usually at 75 degrees is not really an issue. Since the top keeps the tank pretty enclosed I maybe put water in weekly in-between weekly water changes. My biggest issue was flow I ended up putting in TWO Hydor Koralia 425 Pumps which made a huge difference. One wasn't enough.
You put 2 Hydor 425's in a Biocube 32? I was reading an article where the guy replaced the cirulation pump with a Hydor 425 and the return pump with a Sicce 1.5 Return Pump. I wasn't sure whether I should do the same with the return pump.
 

Maxcmo

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You put 2 Hydor 425's in a Biocube 32? I was reading an article where the guy replaced the cirulation pump with a Hydor 425 and the return pump with a Sicce 1.5 Return Pump. I wasn't sure whether I should do the same with the return pump.
I kept the stock pump and only added the second Hydor after an algae issue I dealt with but the second Hydor made a big difference in keeping the tank cleaner.
 
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QuinnLee512

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I kept the stock pump and only added the second Hydor after an algae issue I dealt with but the second Hydor made a big difference in keeping the tank cleaner.
Sorry I got confused with circulation pump vs powerhead. Any idea if I could upgrade the circulation and return pumps and not need powerheads at all? I bought the hydor to replace the stock circulation pump.
 

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You really don't need to upgrade your return pump at first, mine was stock for year and working properly. I installed a IM mighty jet 536 , just to have flow control and feed mode..love it
2 Hydor Koralia powerheads will work good moving the current around, and their small. I just replaced mine w a Nero 3 after urchin ate the wire covering .
If your keeping the top on, you'll see very little evap, just adding a few cup fulls of RODI maybe week during normal water changes .
The 32 is a nice tank to play with, and easy on the wallet !
Year old pic of ours 20210614_191509.jpg
 

MaxTremors

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Hello everyone. Very first thread. It has been over 20 years since I've had a tank of any kind. Have never done saltwater but have always loved how they look. So I decided to take the plunge yesterday and spent most of the day placing online orders. This is what I have so far. I'm still researching what else I need. I'm trying to buy as much equipment as possible to make maintenance as easy as possible. ATO is on the top of my list of what I haven't gotten yet. Still doing research on what to put in the tank that doesn't require too much maintenance. Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated.

Biocube 32
Biocube stand
Coralife BioCube NEW STYLE Protein Skimmer (V2)
Coralife BioCube Algae Cleaning Magnet
Coralife Mini Hydrometer
inTank Media Basket
inTank Fuge Basket
inTank Fish Saver Guard
Coralife BioCube UV Sterilizer for Aquarium, Mini
Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat 100W
Inkbird WiFi ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat
Hydor Koralia Nano 425 Aquarium Circulation Pump, 425 GPH
ADJ Products AC POWER STRIP (PC-100A)
JBJ Nano Glo LED Refugium Light for Aquarium

Caribsea Life Rock, 40-Pound
CaribSea Aragalive Reef Sand Special Grade 40lbs

APEC Water Systems RO-90 Ultimate Series Top Tier Supreme Certified High Output 90 GPD Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
Milwaukee MA887 Digital Salinity Refractometer with Automatic Temperature Compensation
Marineland Maxi-Jet 900, Multi-Use Water Pump And Power Head ( for mixing water )
API® Saltwater Aquarium Master Test Kit
Just a couple of things: an ATO is really not necessarily on a biocube unless you’re taking the lid off. I currently have a JBJ nanocube, which is nearly identical to the biocube, only the back chambers aren’t covered by the lid (meaning it has more evaporation than a biocube would), and even now in the summer, I only need to top off my tank maybe a cup (like a measuring cup) or two of water per week. I generally add a little bit every couple days, but I could do it once a week or even every two weeks and probably be just fine. You can mark on the back chamber where the water level is after a water change (I use this little reusable plastic sticker thing) and then you know how much water to add and how quickly it’s going through water. But again, since it’s covered, I think you’ll find that not much water evaporates. If you want an ATO to automate it, you can, but I will say that changing the level of the float or sensor in the little chambers or getting the water level just right is a PITA, I find it much easier to just add a little water once a week or every few days.

Also, I would recommend against getting the koralia, and get something that is controllable and that can randomize the flow, you’ll find that corals do much better with random or pulsing flow than just straight, constant flow. There are many options available, but for a budget friendly option, I’d recommend the Jebao SLW series (I’d probably go with the 10 or the 20 for your tank, you’re going to want around a 1000gph pump for your tank, that sounds like a lot, but when it’s not a constant direct flow, you need that much turn over to ensure you don’t have any dead spots). You can also get a flow randomizer for your return, either a nozzle that sort of directs the flow in different directions randomly, or a spinning nozzle that moves the flow in a circle. And yes, you want an extra pump in addition to the return pump, the idea is that you have two different sources of flow and where they intersect, the water deflects and creates a random flow.

I would also recommend against the biocube protein skimmer and UV sterilizer. Neither are really all that effective, they kind of work, but there are much better options out there. For a skimmer, I would recommend the Aquamaxx NF-1. It’s an efficient skimmer, it’s easy to adjust, is silent, and doesn’t release a bunch of micro bubbles. That said, whether or not you need a skimmer on a tank this size is debatable, you could just do water changes and grow some macro algae and be just fine. I don’t have any recommendations for a UV sterilizer, but I think most options that are going to fit in the back of a biocube aren’t going to be that effective, they might help with bacteria and algae blooms, but they’re not going to do much for parasites and diseases. You may be able to find an HOB option, or one that works similar to a canister filter that will work much better, but IMO they’re really not necessary.

Also, I don’t know if they’ve fixed this on newer biocubes, but you want to make sure that fish can jump into the back chambers (it’s a huge hassle to get them out). I had a biocube years ago and fish were constantly jumping back there (everything from firefish, to watchman gobies, to coral beauties). You can get some netting or some screen/egg crate and build a little fence to keep anything from getting back there.

And if there is one last piece of advice I can give you is to go with at least 25% real live rock. I understand the concern about hitchhikers, but for the most part they are manageable (plus they’re just interesting, IMO a reef tank isn’t a reef tank without all the microfauna), but what you gain in bacterial biodiversity is well worth the potential for pests. Dry rock alone can take ages to fully mature, IME the ‘ugly phase’ is much, much shorter when you have at least some live rock.

Anyway, congrats on your first tank! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
 
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QuinnLee512

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@Max Thank you for taking the time to do that write-up. The biocubes still have a problem with fish getting into the back which is why I bought the inTank fish saver guard.

For aesthetic reasons, I'm trying to minimize the amount of equipment inside the tank. Is it at all possible to not have powerheads? I'm looking at the MP10 if I end up having to get one.

As for ATO, I ended up getting the Tunze 3155. I knew going into this that the startup cost would be high but maybe not this high. lol Oh well go big or go home right? :) I don't even remember what all I ordered last night at 2am. I remember getting a $60 cleaning magnet that floats to the top though. lol
 

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Congrats on your new tank and new hobby journey.

Nothing better than 2am purchasing. Sure you go to bed all happy, then you wake up in the morning and realized what you did on a whim with your wallet fully open. LOL

Take your time. Buy bare minimal and work your way up as you get a feel for what you really need.

That even more applies to when you get fish and corals. Patience is key to success for the long run.
 
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QuinnLee512

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Congrats on your new tank and new hobby journey.

Nothing better than 2am purchasing. Sure you go to bed all happy, then you wake up in the morning and realized what you did on a whim with your wallet fully open. LOL

Take your time. Buy bare minimal and work your way up as you get a feel for what you really need.

That even more applies to when you get fish and corals. Patience is key to success for the long run.
Yeah I might slow down a bit. I'm going to concentrate on what I need for that initial cycling process. Got some Dr Tim's One and Only. Just discovered Hannah Checkers. Might return that API testing kit. Not sure if I'm overthinking it but I'm not sure whether I should put the stand in front of my power outlet, which I'm planning on swapping out for a gfci. What if I need to work on that outlet for whatever reason? I'm even wondering if I should put the stand on top of a mat? I have engineered wood floors which isn't completely water proof.
 

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